Phone Ettiquette

We talk a lot on the internet about email ettiquette, and while it’s important, I will forgive my clients their typos and spelling errors in their email. The phone issues really get to me though, so I’m offering the following tips for phone ettiquette and to make sure your call is taken seriously and returned.

1) Have a normal voicemail message. "Hi, you’ve reached MY NAME at MY NUMBER. Please leave a message and I’ll return your call." I don’t want to represent anybody whose message says something else, and I certainly don’t want to hire them. It is important to have your name and number in the message.

2) Have a normal ringtone. I know it’s cool, but do not have music play instead of a ringing noise when people call you. I, and every other attorney I know, find it very irritating when clients do this.

3) Do not play music during your voicemail message. I have a client who I will never ever leave a message for again, because it plays a minute of music, then the client screams the message from (1) over the music, then the music keeps playing.

4) Leave as short a voicemail greeting as possible. I hate state agencies that make me listen to a super-long voicemail message with all their offices and hours before I get to the menu of people that I’m trying to get to.

5) Leave religion out of it. Telling people to have a blessed day is probably viewed as really nice by some people, but some people find it offensive. I don’t think anybody gets offended because you didn’t tell them to have a blessed day, so maybe leave it out.

6) When leaving a message, repeat all numbers twice. All phone numbers, case numbers, client numbers, etc. Repeat them. Also repeat your name at the end of the message.

7) When answering the phone, answer with, "hello" or "this is (your name)". Unacceptable responses include, "yeah, what?" or "if you’re gonna block your number, I’m not gonna answer" or "oh hey".

Any other tips you might have?

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